The reason that Apple’s vision of the cloud confuses people is that they are removing, from view, a key element of computing that we have been using for decades – “the file system”.
Dropbox for iPhone, is a bit annoying because in iOS there is no built in file structure. So if I’m backing up my photos for instance, I have to choose every single photo and wait for them to upload one-by-one. This isn’t an issue on my Mac because there is a file system and a whole folder would stay in sync.
iOS for iPhone and iPad has no user facing file system. It is all hidden. I believe that Apple’s long term goal is to shift fully to this type of file management; iCloud being an integral part of the new system. Apple closing iWork beta suggests the further progression of their eliminating “the file system”. OSX Mountain Lion, is marketed as having “all new features, inspired by iPad.” In Mountain Lion, you can choose to save to iCloud. They are closing the gap and bringing consistency between both operating systems.
iCloud, Apple’s solution for Cloud based computing, is one that removes the file system from view. Think of whatever you are doing as “the work”. ( Borrowed term from Linchpin by Seth Godin. )
No matter if I’m writing a document, taking a photo, or composing music, it shall be called “the work”. iOS then makes sure that a copy of “the work” is stored on iCloud. And in turn iCloud copies that to each of your devices. Seamless. You never knew it happened.
The difference is that you do not “find the file” to open. It is there from the last time you used it. Making you feel totally futuristic because no matter what the device, “the work” is up to date.
Cloud computing done right. Invisible.